IN CASE of Indian elections it may very well be summarised that the fiercer the electoral competition becomes the more expensive they become. Thus their becoming a far cry for a common man with moderate means, is not entirely ruled out. That there were more crorepati candidates in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections than people with modest means completes the story of the elections being unusually expensive this time. A Delhi-based group, Centre for Media Studies has estimated that a whopping Rs. 60,000 crore were spent on the just concluded elections, the Election Commission’s part being just 15 to 20 pc and has said that the enormity of the expenditure on electioneering should scare us. The media group has also said that more the expenditure the uglier the level of campaigning. Such a correlation may be disputed. But for the political parties the stakes are so high that the possibility of levels of campaigning going down abysmally low cannot be entirely ruled out as has happened in the recent elections. But then who cares? But the nation must care.
The austerity measures, aimed at curbing certain ceremonial practices and subservient behaviour, announced by new Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh can make a far-reaching impact on the Armed Forces and their way of functioning. Admiral Singh’s directives seek equality among the Naval ranks by having same standards of food, drinks and cutlery. The Naval Chief has also called for optimal utilisation of manpower and resources by cutting down on the ceremonial practices that see many junior officers perpetually busy in taking care of official and unofficial requirements of their seniors. The directives are a welcome change from the unusually rigid practices adopted in all the armed as well as other forces. The next logical step is to implement these directives in the right earnest and in its true spirit. Former Chief of Army Staff late General K Sunderji had also sought similar practice during his tenure but somehow it could not materialise. Admiral Singh’s initiative should not meet the same fate.